Bangkok Music City, reimagined for virus-ridden 2020, announces ace fest lineup
Words by Aldus Santos
There’s no stopping the Bangkok Music City train. With cautious (but no less adventurous) tack, the Thailand-based festival-conference is refashioning what it does best for a COVID-19 year. The same elements that have endeared BMC to its supporters are still very much around, but in lieu of its signature staging at creative district Chareonkrung, it will be livestreamed on November 28-29, 2020—for Thailand-based showcase talents at least—from co-working hub Glowfish Sathorn. “I think that the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for virtual music events, whether conferences, concerts, gigs or festivals,” says festival co-founder Piyapong ‘Py’ Muenprasertdee. “Even though physical is still the best way to experience live music, virtual solutions help make things more cost-effective and efficient,” he adds.
But if the marquee of slated performers is any indication, the milieu ceases to matter a great deal, and it’s clear that BMC remains unflagging in scope, breadth, and imagination. From the immediate region, there’s rock trio FLEUR! and singer-songwriter Leonardo Ringo from Indonesia; ambient duo Euseng Seto and Kent Lee from Malaysia; All of the Noise 2019 alum indie-pop stalwarts M1LDL1FE from Singapore; and a multi-fangled delegation from the Philippines: indie rockers She’s Only Sixteen (Editor’s note: The Rest Is Noise supports She’s Only Sixteen in this year’s edition of BMC. The band is set to release their latest EP on November 27, a day before BMC), Lions & Acrobats, and One Click Straight; rap collective Bawal Clan; electronic artist Smow; and pop tunesmith Zack Tabudlo. Last year, The Rest Is Noise supported Filipino music producer AHJU$$I at the festival’s maiden edition, alongside Timothy Run.
From a bit beyond the region, meanwhile, BMC will be graced by hip-hop outfit Normandie Gang Band from Japan; festival globetrotters WEDANCE, indie groove-meisters CADEJO, and self-styled “pastel psychedelic” band DABDA from Korea; electro-jazz duo Non-Confined Space and indie-folk quartet Shallow Levée from Taiwan; and alt-disco faves The Derelicts from India. Majority of these artists are active in the showcase festival circuit, many of whom have already participated (or will participate this year) at BMC’s counterparts across Asia.
A veritable indie crème de la crème beyond the hemisphere, furthermore, is in the offing: pop rockers Ali Barter and Hayley Mary from Australia; pop-punk quartet Single by Sunday from Scotland; all-female punk-metal act Browsing Collection, indie-poppers The Bongo Club, and post-hardcore mainstays KÅRP from Sweden; soul outfit YellowStraps, punksters MSS FRNCE, and rough-and-tender songwriter The Rodeo from France; as well as indie rockers Pompeya from Russia.
Even more names from varying cultures and regions are set to be revealed in the coming days. The announcement, in fact, follows Bangkok Music City’s domestic lineup reveal, which includes celebrated talents such as Alec Orachi, Daniel Ryn, Newery, YONLAPA, H 3 F, electric.neon.lamp, DOGWHINE, LAAN, Beagle Hug, Vijit Tawan, Maimhon, The 10th Saturday, Varis, Diaries, LingRom, Makara, Kunst, Faustus, Robbers Bliss, and Rattanakosin Breakin Crew for the November 28 showcase; as well as My Life as Ali Thomas, daynim, Venn, Summer Dress, DCNXTR, Supergoods, S.O.L.E., Lukpeach, Panpan Yeeyee, Yew, Zom Marie, Cloud Behind, HED, The Kopycat, YEP MAY YEP, La Nuit, Grayray, loserpop, Quicksand Bed, and Hope the Flowers for November 29.
“On a larger scale, I envision BMC to become a vehicle to help support the sustainable development of the creative industries—starting with my field of work, which is music,” Muenprasertdee, who worked in a sustainability and climate change consultancy before he started BMC, shared in a previous interview with Gig Life Pro. “I wanted to find a way to make the music industry more sustainable and turn [being an] indie musician into a stable career choice.”
While it takes after predecessors like SXSW (U.S.) and Zandari Festa (Korea), BMC prides itself in its distinct character, as well as the rabid devotion of the people surrounding it: participants, performers, audience, and organizers alike. A true believer in representation and sustainability for music creatives, Muenprasertdee goes on to say, “I hope to make [the experience] as good as possible and improve it every year. I also hope to reinvite people who not only create business value, but also long-lasting relationships and friendships with others.”
Billed as an entertainment and technology summit, Bangkok Music City will also feature talks and sessions on music copyright, gaming and e-sports, artificial intelligence, music streaming, political communications, and a sprawling array of related subject areas.